Card study: Ten of Cups

When certain cards come up, we often jump to an initial interpretation. The Ten of Cups is one of those. We want to assure ourselves or our clients that all will be well when we see this card. It truly is a lovely card. The cups are overflowing and there is lush greenery. But we also see a few clues that give more nuance to this card.

IMG_20190314_081338_393.jpgThe figure here is alone and usually this card depicts groups, specifically nuclear families (because we all come from a normal one of those!). And when we see the look on her face, there’s complexity there. It’s not the pure joy we usually see depicted on groups of loving people. More on that in a bit.

We also see a mountain in the background. Mountains tend to signify journeys, obstacles, and adversity. This lets us know that we’ve gotten to the Ten of Cups through a hard journey. And that Journey might not be completely over. While we have overflowing cups, we still bear the scars of that journey and those will never go away.

We also have to ask ourselves how fulfilled we are in this card. The clue for that is looking at the expression on the figure pictured. This card shows us that much as well but not all is well. It reminds us that was with the sweet often comes the bitter. I don’t see that as depressing or disheartening. It’s realistic and it acknowledges the hard work that comes with being in a better, more fulfilling place in your life.


Card study: The Hierophant

img_20190104_095602_758Getting back to doing card studies. Got a whole slot of studies for the next few weeks on Deck. Pun intended. This week we are going to look at the Hierophant. You can see all of the shapes that support the idea of structure. Structured learning is an important part of this card. But notice a few other details that give us further insights.

The bird in the upper left reminds us to always try to see the big picture and have perspective on what we are learning. Birds also symbolize our connection to our souls. So we should try to include our souls as well as our heads in our learning. Birds also symbolize our desire to connect to a higher power, however we define that.

The second thing to notice is the presence of both male and female energy here. Traditional learning can be very male-dominated. This rendition of the card reminds us that even within the bounds of structured learning, we should try to value all types of knowledge and ways of learning.

Card study: yin yangs

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 4.08.53 PM.pngAll three of these cards carry some heavy intuitive energy with them. So it’s no surprise that they all feature a yin yang symbol. The symbol is full of meaning including the idea of the balance between Light and Shadow.

The yin side represents darkness and absorption. It is female energy. It is considered the passive side, but passive does not mean waiting around. It means waiting for the right time before we do something. It means we consider before we charge in.

The yang side encompasses male energy. It represents penetrating energy that is active and goes forward (sometimes without thinking!) The “male” energy and “female” energy are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. The symbol asks us to consider what seemingly contradictory Energies are actually complementary? And we are asked to see in what ways the world around us is interconnected.

It also asks us, what do we know intuitively in ourselves that we need to bring out from the Shadow and into the Light in order to make better decisions? Are we favoring one side of the symbol, or do we seek the balance implied in this complex symbol?


Card study: Symbols of balance in the Lovers

screen-shot-2018-05-15-at-7-20-40-pm.pngSo many symbols to unpack in this representation of this card! The Lovers can represent Love, but it often represents the idea of choice. We must choose between two paths, which could involve Love. Our goal in making our choice (and in finding love) is to strike a balance. So many of the cards focus on the idea of balance in our lives.

Let’s start examining the symbols in this card. The six-pointed star, or Star of David, is used in many traditions although it’s know best known as the symbol for Judaism.  It is often seen as a magical sign. The upside down triangle represents water and feminine energy while the upside triangle symbolizes fire and masculine energy. Combined, they aim to strike a balance between these opposing elements and energies. Although it has six points, it is associated with the number 7 because the center counts as a point. The number 7 signifies intuition and inner wisdom.  Additionally we have another symbol that combines masculine and feminine energy in order to denote balance. The yin-yang symbol represents femininity and masculinity, Shadow and Light, growth and the journey to growth.

Card study: The Hermit, Astrological Symbols and Seeing Cards in New Ways

Screen Shot 2018-04-11 at 5.24.37 PMOnce again, I love the Cosmic tarot because it is ripe with symbolism. The hermit’s garments include the signs for Jupiter, the Sun, and Virgo. Looking at what these represent can give us a deeper meaning about this card.  The Cosmic Tarot uses the sign for Jupiter repeatedly throughout the deck. Linking cards through symbols is an interesting and informative way to start seeing how cards “go” together. Try going through whatever deck you use and group cards together by repeated uses of colors, symbols, people who look alike, and other commonalities that you might not notice until you start looking for them.

Jupiter signifies tolerance, expansiveness, and insight through knowledge. Jupiter  inspires broader reach, purpose, hope, and possibility. Interestingly, Jupiter is actually considered a “social” planet. I often tell clients when the Hermit comes up, depending on what other cards are present, that they might need to seek knowledge and purpose outside of themselves. Rather than be the Hermit, they might need to seek the Hermit in the form of a mentor or teacher or community.

The Sun represents our self, our way of being in the world. One might associate the Hermit with the mystery of the Moon, but I think the Sun is more appropriate here. The Hermit tries to reveal hidden truths, much like the Sun reveals what is hidden in darkness.The Hermit is an inner light in the midst of our dark night of the soul.

Virgo is known for having attention to detail and desiring to serve others. Virgo works towards the greater good. And Virgo is modest about these qualities. Virgo does not serve for recognition (like Leo or Aries). Most importantly, Virgos are interested in studying things: how do people, things, situations work in great detail? They want to understand. Just like the Hermit wants us to go in and truly understand who we are and what our purpose is.